Sunday, April 12, 2015

Magic On TV Update

Wizard Wars from the SyFy channel has been cancelled. This is really a shame as it was a fun show and I know a lot of lay people who loved watching it. On the flip side of things, apparently the WB which was showing reruns of Penn and Teller Fool US from England has now ordered a new batch of shows. So this week, Penn and Teller will be filming a new round of FOOL-US from their home in Las Vegas! Host Jonathan Ross will be back as well P&T. I really enjoyed season 1 of the show, so I expect the same from season 2.

Gay Blackstone's Masters of Illusion will also be back on the CW. Syfy has a number of other magic TV shows like Troy and Close-up Kings. Of all the shows I've mentioned, I have not seen Troy or Close-up Kings. But I've enjoyed the others. I fully expect to see even more magic on TV in the coming months/years.

Friday, April 10, 2015

S.A.M. President HOUDINI Returns to the S.A.M.

I just saw this over at the SAM website. HOUDINI via his movie The Grim Game will be making an appearance at this years (2015) SAM National Convention in Philadelphia. They will be showing the movie during the convention and Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz will be on hand at the convention to answer questions regarding the movie.

The SAM Press Release notes that Houdini was President of the SAM when The Grim Game was made. In fact, Houdini was President of the Society right up until the time of his death. His grave even has the emblem of the Society of American Magicians as part of it's decoration.

It should be noted that this viewing is for registrants of the convention only, no outside tickets will be sold. To read the entire press release, go here...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Special TCM Thanks For Dorothy and Dick

I was not present at the special screening of The Grim Game last Sunday at the TCM Classic Film Festival. I was surely there in spirit however. Much has been made about how this 'lost' movie found it's way to the light of day. Frankly, it was Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz who took the initiative to get the ball rolling and thankfully helped in bringing this film to the light of day again.

In addition to all Dorothy and Dick did for The Grim Game, they were also special guests at the TCM Classic Film Festival and they gave an introduction to Houdini. Before the screening of The Grim Game, Dorothy presented a straightjacket escape and did a card routine using one of Houdini's actual vests. It set the mood for what was about to happen and the folks at the TCM Classic Film Festival were thrilled. They sent Dorothy and Dick a very glowing letter of thanks, and D&D shared it with me to share with you all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Houdini!!!!

Yes, here we go again! This day, April 6th, is the day that Houdini celebrated as his birthday. For all I know, it was the date he actually believed was his birthday. It's so fascinating that every year goes by, Houdini gets more popular while others of his time fade into obscurity. Oh heck, what am I saying, people from 10 years ago have faded into obscurity, Houdini was born 141 years ago and if he hasn't faded from the scene yet, he likely never will.

Happy Birthday Harry!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Houdini on American Heroes Channel

I just watched a show on the American Heroes Channel called Americas Most Bad-Ass. It's a historical match up between 4 different famous people. In the episode tonight, the match-ups were Neil Armstrong, Teddy Roosevelt, John Dillinger and Harry Houdini. There are at least two so called experts per contestant, we got, Larry Sloman, co-author of The Secret Life of Houdini and NY magician Matthew Holtzclaw. I honestly had not heard of any of the other folks who represented the other three people.

First off, whose idea was it to pit Houdini against an astronaut? Really? The choice of stories told for Houdini were not the best in my opinion. They opened with Houdini's first straight jacket escape in Washington D.C.. You know what, I can think of someone else a little better prepared to talk about HOUDINI in WASHINGTON D.C. than the two guys they had on the show. Call me crazy, but I do know someone who has written quite a lot about it and has actually been to both locations where he did his upside down straight jacket escapes, as well as researched all his challenges in the area, where he stayed while he was in D.C. and many other aspects of his D.C. escapes.

The second story they choose was the Houdini Frozen Over Belle Island Bridge Escape, which was not frozen over, though, they again throw out that falsehood. I can think of someone who did a fantastic article on Houdini's Belle Island Jump recently. Maybe they should have talked to him. In fact John Cox and yours truly may have been able to provide enough information that would have helped Houdini fare a little better than he did on the show.

They brought up Teddy Roosevelt flying in a plane, not flying the plane, but flying in a plane. But no mention of Houdini's historic First Flight in Australia where he actually flew the plane.  Now, in truth, the show is very tongue in cheek and more of a fun way to share history than an actual contest. But I think if you're going to share history, let's get it right.

In my book, the first man to walk on the moon, pretty much beats anyone. Did he? You'll have to watch the show for yourself.  But if you want a really fun test, ask any school child, ask some teens, ask some 20 and 30 year olds who Armstrong, Roosevelt, Dillinger and Houdini were. My bet is, Houdini will come out as the best known of the bunch, even beating the astronaut. But then again, I'm slightly biased :)